A Miss America contestant is competing for the crown on a gay rights platform.
Claire Buffie, 24, who is currently Miss New York, is straight but has a lesbian sister.
The Indiana native’s social campaign platform is ‘Straight for Equality: Let’s Talk’ – which makes her the first Miss America contestant in the competition’s history to base her bid on gay rights.
She won her crown in New York last year on the same platform.
Miss Buffie, a designer and photographer, told the New York Daily News: “The reason I am such a vocal straight ally is because my older sister, Sarah, is gay, and I have a lot of gay friends and a gay roommate.
They, she said, are “people that I care about so much and that I never want to see treated as second-class citizens.”
She added that she was concerned about homophobic bullying leading to gay teenagers self-harming and even killing themselves.
The Miss America competition will be held in January 15th.
Last year, the winner of the Miss Universe contest, Ximena Navarrete, of Mexico, said gay marriage should be legalised.
She told a radio show that she had lots of gay friends and there was “no reason we should want to set them aside”.
She lost support after the pageant sued her for the cost of her breast implants and it was revealed she had starred in “solo sex tapes”.